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Organic vs. Synthetic Pricing & Results: How do you compare?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by VillageGreen, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. VillageGreen

    VillageGreen LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 12

    Hello All,

    It's been a couple years since I've posted anything on this forum.

    For those of you with organic lawn fertilization businesses I'm wondering how your pricing compares to synthetics. What program steps do you use, what might pricing be for 8K sq. ft. lot, and how does that compare with a synthetic program?

    A quick background on why I'm asking the question: I hadn't planned to return to the world of landscaping until an organic lawn care business fell into my lap with cash flow and a sizable customer base. It's important for our company not only to be profitable but also to educate our community about the potentially harmful health & environmental side-effects of pesticide use. That being said we do an average of 10 estimates a day and of those about 2 sign up (20%). The rest are having difficulty justifying/ or paying for the service, but are convinced they'd like to have it if it were affordable. Bottom line, I need to reduce the cost of our program while not diminishing profitability, quality, or results, but at the same time I recognize I'll need to make a sacrifice somewhere.

    I'd really be interested in chatting with a few people who are treating larger commercial accounts about results and costs.


  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Welcome back Jeff
    Sounds like the right place at the right time
    Now that Tru Green has gotten on board it looks like an organic turf program has gone mainstream. They are putting up ads on the television in the mid atlantic 4 or 5 times an hour

    If you go here you will see an example of an organic turf program http://www.ictorganics.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/home.showpage/pageID/30/index.htm

    This has to adjusted for zone you may have less or more applications

    Barry Draycott on here has been putting these programs together for many, it is comprised of tea applications to keep color and density during the middle of the season and high organic matter granular applications in the spring and fall.

    The cultural practice are different, we are trying to build soil fertility instead of feeding the plant directly

    In every meeting I have been in with him the companies are pleasantly surprised at the cost per 1000

    if you want to shoot me an email I can send you pictures and references from all over the country and almost every type of turf
  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720


    We've used primarily meals & compost for a number of years now.
    I make no effort to hide the fact that the products themselves are generally much more expensive than 'traditional' turf fertilizer.
    In fact, if they venture to ask, I'll tell them the labor to apply it is more expensive, too. A lot more for compost topdressing!

    But most sensible folks today can envision that there are organic lawn care benefits that go beyond the value of the dollar.
    If they can't, then I or one of my sales associates will help make these values more clear to them, some of which are:

    1) reducing the amount of pesticides & salts in the environment

    2) reducing or eliminating altogether pesticide exposure to family, neighbors & pets

    3) improving overall quality of soil by giving soil microbes food to recover

    4) weed control focus immediately shifts from weeds to turf density because thick, healthy turf will eventually overtake (most) weeds

    5) reducing top growth of turf due to cessation of SCU fertilizers, annually saving gas $$,time, and wear & tear on equipment

    6) more organic material incorporated into soil means better potential water retention capacity, saving lots o' irrigation $$

    6) organic fertilizers have a MUCH slower nitrogen release curve than does SCU or most other sources of N, meaning that although the product takes a little longer to 'take off' (as temps get cooler), its color will linger longer.

    This is the precise reason why we offer 3 rounds of meal, a 2 meal/ 1 topdressing, or something very similar.
    No one on our list has '5 steps'.
    And the difference between 3 & 5 is where a lot of that cost (should be) made up if you're up against 5 step traditional competitors.

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